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Graphic Design

What are QR codes and Why Should you be Using them in your business??

By | advertising, Direct Marketing, Graphic Design, marketing, Vicky Gouge | No Comments

Many of you (hopefully most) have seen these little box codes start popping up everywhere. What most of you don’t know is that these Quick Response (QR) codes have been around for some time now. They were invented in Japan in 1994!! But, like most new technology, it has taken years for these little codes to emerge. Now they are widely used by businesses to market themselves.

Now how would you use a QR code in your business (take a snapshot of this code and find out)? QR codes allow you to directly market specific areas of your business. For example, a real estate agent gets a new listing; Full Moon Design Group creates the new listing flyer for them and includes a QR code on it. A home buyer picks up a flyer and takes a snapshot of the QR code on the flyer using one of numerous smart phone QR code reader apps. It then opens up a unique url address that provides the potential home buyer additional information that can’t be found on the flyer or the MLS sheet (ie: the url sends them to the virtual tour).

QR codes can be used to promote specific areas of your website, a phone number, SMS, or text. With emerging technology and the use of smart phones, consumers can click on a QR code to retrieve a coupon or special that a business is offering. Businesses can use them to drive traffic to their websites for promotions. It’s all at your fingertips.

Want to generate a code for your website? Go to http://qrcode.kaywa.com/. Just type in your information and the code will generate. Right click on the code and save to your computer. Insert into your marketing materials. Be sure to track your hits/page views and/or leads specifically from the code.

Let Full Moon Design Group create and insert QR codes into your marketing campaigns.

The Written Word – Making a Comeback

By | advertising, branding, Direct Marketing, email marketing, Graphic Design, Promotional Marketing, website | No Comments

I’ve noticed more and more lately that writing is sort of “last week.” It’s old school. Blame it on technology, if you like. Pick one: whether it’s cell phone texting,  word processing auto correct,  or spell check they’ve all contributed to the slow demise of a basic skill. Sometimes I wonder if a person realizes that they’ve sent me a business email that ignores the basics of spelling and grammar. When I get those emails IDK. I’m def not ROTFL. It’s okay to smile, we’ve all done it.

When is the last time you sat down and wrote something? Some of us write daily emails to clients, friends and colleagues, but are they well written? Do they sound professional? When is the last time you sat down and really tried to put your thoughts down, or explain something clearly and concisely? Well, the same technology that may have stolen our ability to write is also pushing us back in that direction.

As a graphic artist, I’m often asked to design logos and even web pages for entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their new dream businesses. They’ve got an idea and are so enthusiastic and passionate about getting started. When I ask what their web content will be like, their eyes glaze over for a second and then you can see it dawn on them that they’ve got to come up with (zoinks!) content? Panic! Words? Write something?

Do you blog? Do you keep your websites dynamic? Are search engines finding your page? Do you have printed marketing collateral like brochures? Do you need to send newsletters or sales letters? Do you need help?

Thankfully, there are still people who like to write and do it well. It’s a resurgence of the copywriter. These professionals can write just about anything. It’s what they do. Many of them are small entrepreneurs just like you. They’re easy to work with and can really make a difference for your business. We know the best and most creative folks who feel as passionate about what they write as we do about what we design. Ask us for referrals if you need help with a big job, or a small one.

Marketing: All Wheels need to be in orbit.

By | advertising, branding, corporate branding, design, Direct Mail, Direct Marketing, email marketing, full moon design group, Graphic Design, marketing, Promotional Marketing, social media, strategy, Uncategorized, website | One Comment

Introducing the Lunar Cycle: All marketing wheels need to be in orbit!
*Note: Our model is to serve as a summary of good marketing practices.

To be successful in business, you have always needed a marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy has always needed to promote your brand while protecting it at the same time. And the result of a truly successful marketing plan is a well recognized brand of a profitable business! Smaller businesses struggle daily to keep up with their marketing and branding. It’s easy to get focused on one particular method and forget about the rest. I am writing this blog today to stress that marketing strategies have not changed and as a business, you can’t survive on just one approach!

Full Moon Design Group’s Luna Cycle

Print doesn’t substitute your networking activities and web doesn’t substitute your print materials and social media does NOT substitute for all of it! Instead, you will want to make sure that they are all working together, in unison, promoting your brand and communicating the same message.

There are five different marketing wheels and each one orbits around your brand. Each of the five, have their own moving parts. We will be expanding this blog into several posts in an effort to start the conversation of each of the wheels and the components it is made of.

It all starts with your Company Culture. Developing a strong company culture will ensure that your company’s mission is brought to the forefront and that you are getting the Word of Mouth marketing that you want.

Next, you have your Activities. These activities consist of Special Events that you hold as a company, Charities or Non-Profit organizations that you and your company support, local Chambers that you are a member of, Professional Associations that make sense for your company and employees, Sponsorships that promote your brand to the right audience and Tradeshows that will help you get in front of your audience.

Your printed materials will consist of creative Ads, Direct Mail, Stationary, Brochures/Flyers/Pushcards, Promotional products and Presentation Materials. When engaging in your Activities, it’s always helpful to have printed material to support your brand. What printed material you have at each activity should be relevant and impactful.

Moving to the digital world, you now need to have a website. Your website should be clean, inviting and engaging to your current clients and prospective ones. Features of your website that should not be overlooked include a Blog, Newsroom and Email sign up form for your newsletter. In your Blog, you’ll be the expert and offer advice, your Newsroom will keep people abreast of the “goings on” in your company, and your Email newsletter will be a place for special offerings and information.

Expanding into the digital world, we find Social Media and boy does it get complicated and overwhelming! Social Media is an all access pass to the world. It’s a free medium for you to engage strangers, communicate your thoughts & ideas, and invite people in to really “get to know you” as a business. Social Media is now the gateway to higher rankings from search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Ask. To keep it simple, we’ve grouped Social Media into several descriptive categories…and this just scratches the surface!

The most familiar outlet is the Lifestreams/Microblogs which include Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. Within these Lifestreams, you will find Location Based applications like Gowalla, Foursquare, and Whrrl…great ways to promote your business and interact with the public. When blogging or offering useful white papers, Social Bookmarking is a great way to make sure people find you. Popular methods are Delicious or Stumbleupon. Moving on to more fun stuff, you’ll find the Media Sharing sites like YouTube, Ustream and Flickr. For businesses, it’s important to participate in Business and Niche Networking sites like LinkedIn, Ning & Spoke. And last, but not least, you have the Review based sites including Yelp, Google & Yahoo.

The sixth component of the Luna Cycle is Public Relations. Your public relations strategy should be coordinated with your marketing strategy and pushing the information out to the public. Full Moon Design Group has strategic PR partners in place that we work with frequently to ensure our clients get exposure in all aspects of their business, in as many places where their audience resides.

2013 Color Trends

By | branding, corporate branding, design, Graphic Design | No Comments

One of the biggest factors in determining an effective advertisement is its color and the message it conveys. For example, being in a baby store with bright red and aqua might make you a bit uncomfortable, while the typical colors of pastel blue and pink are much more soothing and comforting, which is the desirable atmosphere while shopping for your littlest one.

Different colors convey different messages. Red, one of three primary hues, is one of the most powerful and emotion-evoking colors. Reds can feel sweet and innocent when mixed with white to create pink tones or bring about sharp responses when used in the pure form. With the addition of black, reds can create a darker emotional response, such as anger or convey passion. Light reds can represent fall or color change or even romance, while darker reds represent more passionate emotions. Blues often bring a very serene, calming environment. It can also represent cleansing and renewal.

An advertiser’s choice in colors is often a telling factor on whether the advertisement will be successful or not. Some companies will use vivid, bright colors in order to convey an excited, enthusiastic company. Toy companies are probably the biggest example of this, as they use bright colors and whacky animations to create a fun, youthful atmosphere. An upscale clothier, however, would use more neutral colors to ensure that the focus remains on the products at hand: the clothes themselves. Also, neutral colors like blacks or whites often create a very serious, classy mood, something which very upscale companies aim to do. All of this can be accomplished by simply choosing the right color.

With all of this color talk, most of you are probably now questioning “What IS the color of the year?” Usually, there isn’t a set answer, as opinions will always vary; however, marketing experts can often agree to choose a couple standout colors. Probably the most talked about color is emerald green. If you look on store shelves or at online websites, you will see emerald green just about everywhere, and it’s not at all for St. Patrick’s Day.  Green, specifically emerald green can be used to create a wide array of emotions. One of the strongest feelings that green conveys is balance and harmony, as it is almost always associated with nature and more natural ideals. A company that uses green to brand its items will appear to be more natural, thus seeming more “people-oriented” and “in touch.” Also, green conveys a very safe and secure environment. Dollar Bills are dark green and are associated with security, specifically financial.

When choosing colors for future advertisements, you should always consider the current color trends. Although emerald green is currently dominating the marketplace, it will eventually shift to something new, as all previous color trends have. Choosing a color for a brand is almost as crucial as the product or slogan, as it can convey a sometimes unconscious message to potential buyers.

Hotel ZaZa – A Branded Success

By | advertising, branding, corporate branding, design, Direct Marketing, full moon design group, Graphic Design, marketing, Promotional Marketing, strategy | No Comments

A little over a month ago, I headed to Dallas with a very good friend. Since it was a girls’ weekend, we decided to pamper ourselves and stay at Hotel ZaZa. I had not heard of the boutique hotel before this trip, but after staying there for two nights, I’ll never forget it! From the interior design of the hotel, to the coasters in our room, to the vibe at the pool, Hotel ZaZa made sure you remembered to “Stay ZaZa”.

Chandeliers filled the hotel

>From the moment I entered the lobby I was engulfed by youthful luxury and style with magnificent chandeliers, velvet curtains, marble floors and vivid colors. Our room had a balcony filled with oversized furniture and overlooked the pool. I felt comfortable and spoiled!

When exiting the lobby for dinner and drinks that evening, we were met by the hotel’s very own car service. It’s a sleek black SUV with their “Stay ZaZa” tagline on the side doors and the skull of some horned animal on the grill. Complimentary car service again offers a luxurious and carefree feeling.

Hotel ZaZa’s Car Service

Having a room booked at the hotel that night was like having the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. We were automatically VIP status…or as Hotel ZaZa puts it “ZZIP”. The pool and restaurant area turned into one of the hottest night clubs in Dallas and we had front row seats! Once again, the hotel was a true destination.

Urban Oasis

Saturday brunch was incredible in their elegant restaurant. When it was time to pay the check, we were handed a promotional card that featured quotes from media write-ups about the hotel and a “Stay ZaZa” pen.

Pen, Matchbook & Promotional Card

While walking out, we found a matchbook and mini notepad once again with the famous tagline reminding you to “Stay ZaZa”.

Daytime at Urban Oasis was definitely the place where you went to be seen. Poolside cocktails and a free popsicle made me a happy camper! As the day went on, the pool grew smaller and smaller as more and more people joined the party. And Hotel ZaZa likes to host a party.

Balls of Fun at Hotel ZaZa

Around 2:30pm beach balls started flying from a 2nd floor balcony. I can’t believe how crazy I went over a beach ball. I even tried to take my new prize back to the room and was stopped and ask to leave the ball behind. When I inquired as to why, I was told that they were protecting their brand and didn’t want their logo to “end up somewhere they didn’t approve.” I respectfully gave up the beach ball!

As someone that discusses the importance of branding daily and as a business owner that is working on our very own brand, I was thoroughly impressed with Hotel ZaZa and all they had done to enforce their brand and image.

I’ll be back…and I might take my little dog too!

All Dogs Go To ZaZa

What is Graphic Design?

By | full moon design group, Graphic Design | No Comments

An intern’s perspective

So many people do not understand what graphic design is, or believe they do. For one, it is not art or decorative. Graphic design is a message that communicates to an audience. Of course, art communicates to an audience in its own way, by amusing or persuading people, explaining a complicated system, or to sell or demonstrate something. Point blank, graphic design is a creative process that communicates ideas. Some examples would be posters, business logos, magazine ads, even CD covers. Graphic designers mostly work with images and/or type to inform, persuade, stimulate, identify, organize, and attract attention. Graphic design is all around us from the clothing we wear to the billboards outside.

Why do you need a graphic designer to get your message across? For one, we are trained in getting messages across to an audience of all kinds, to think with ideas, and to create ideas for you. We have the resources, and we know how to use them. Now, there are always great ideas, and anyone can come up with them. But can you make your great idea a reality? Can you print your idea out and advertise it for the world to see. Does the world understand your idea, or what you are trying to convey? That is where a graphic designer comes in. We are the link to you and your audience, or customers. We take your idea, and make it real. We provide something that can be seen or touched, and understand a message behind that idea. The art of graphic design is very systemmatic, but also fun. We are creatives after all. Sometimes our designs are really ‘out-of-the-box’. We know how to balance your important message, contact information, and creative ideas into one big design. We are all about exposing you…getting your name and your ideas out for your audience to see.

Good design is intentional, not accidental. We do not randomly pick things out and throw them together until they look good. There is a meaning behind everything. For instance, when an author of a book will expand about another topic in a story, but is intentional for the story to make sense. We are trained to come up with great ideas and to execute them for a wide variety of audiences. We can take an idea, and mold it into something real and understandable.

Spreading the Holiday Cheer

By | Graphic Design, marketing, Random Thoughts | No Comments

Holiday cards can be one of the easiest holiday chores to ignore. They truly are painstaking. Keeping track of all the people that you are sending cards, making sure that you have the right address for them, making sure that you have enough cards (including some extras for people that you may have accidentally forgot), and then sitting down and signing them and addressing them all by hand.

With that being said, holiday cards are also a favorite part of the holidays. It is always wonderful to hear from people and see the cards that they send. Ones with pictures Inc Marketing Holiday Cardare a favorite or with letters summing up the year’s happenings. Holiday cards are a great way to let people know that you are thinking of them and that you appreciate them. They are also a fantastic way to show off your personality. You can express your religious views, make people laugh with funny Santa cards, share something unique about whereFull Moon Design Group 2007 Christmas Card you live, or update folks with your latest hairdo using the photo card. It is always fun to see how people have changed.

Businesses should always send a holiday card to their clients. Nothing makes a client/customer feel less like a number and more like a friend than receiving a holiday card. We know that we love receiving them around here. And if you need a little help with how your personality will be reflected, give us a call. We are pretty good at the holiday design thing…perhaps you’ve already noticed.

The Olympics are a Test of Skill

By | Graphic Design | No Comments

The Olympics are a time when the whole world pays attention to some healthy competition and to one country … the host country.  The 2008 Summer Olympics are being held in Beijing, China this year and so far they are doing a bang-up job in the hosting realm.

Everything that we have seen on the television, or in person if you are fortunate enough to be there, has taken many years to develop and plan – even the graphics.

The Olympics’ Graphic Challenge

According to an article that appeared in the China View, the challenge of creating graphics for the 2008 Olympics began three years ago in a country that really just discovered graphic design in the 80’s.  The challenge was placed on the Art Research Center for the Olympic Games (ARCOG) at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA).

The Olympics as a Brand

As graphic designers, we can only imagine the difficult task that graduates of CAFA were faced with in branding the 2008 Olympics.  Not only did they have to brand the Olympics, they also had to somehow brand China as Olympic host as well.  However, they had to do this while avoiding overly celebrating Chinese culture; it had to appeal to every culture in the world.

The Olympics Theme

The group at the ARCOG finally settled on a theme and design.  For the representation of the 35 Olympic sports, they choose to use pictograms based on jingwen.  Jingwen, according to the article, is the script found on 2,000-year-old bronze carvings.

For the Olympic core graphic, the team chose a wave pattern that was based on and inspired by traditional Chinese themes.

Apparently this task of spending three years working on the same project was so tedious, that many of the graphic designers dropped off the scene.  Nevertheless, 20 designers hung in there and got the job done and are now moving on to working on the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.

Branding is a Relationship

By | corporate branding, Graphic Design | No Comments

Branding is probably one of the most important aspects of marketing out there. Branding is what makes your first impression, your last impression, pretty much all of your impressions.

Branding was a large topic of discussion at the 2008 HOW Design Conference that was held in Boston a few weeks back. (Just a side F.Y.I., next year’s conference is going to be held here in Austin, how cool is that?) At the conference, Dragon Rouge Chief Creative Office Marcus Hewitt discussed the importance of branding. He basically stated that branding is not only the way you engage the customer, but it is also how you keep them coming back again and again. Your branding needs to inspire and constantly wow – kind of like dating.

Branding: The Relationship

Branding requires honesty, attractiveness and change with the times. In other words, it needs to constantly evolve but stay true to what intrigued you in the first place. Hewitt mentioned seven steps for proper branding, but they definitely would work in any dating relationship. The seven steps are as follows:

  1. Love Yourself: The brand should be confident in itself and stand proud.
  2. Dare to be Different: Let your personality shine through. Be unique. Don’t try to be like everyone else.
  3. Get to Know People: Take the time to know your audience, their aspiration and desires. Be it your client or your consumer – find out what makes them tick.
  4. Don’t Overwhelm: Everyone needs a little space. There is such as thing as too much information.
  5. Keep them Engaged: Don’t let the relationship get stale. Keep them on their toes with new products or visuals.
  6. Stay in Shape: Brand relationships are hard work. They require discipline. Don’t get out of shape or lazy when your relationship is going well. Your consumer is in high-demand and can always leave you for a more attractive, more responsive brand.
  7. Think About Tomorrow: Consumers will grow and evolve. Anticipate their needs and have a solution before they even realize they have a problem. This requires an active effort to follow and utilize macro trends. The most prevalent example lately is global consciousness.

Branding: Get into the Dating Game

Thank you, Marcus Hewitt, for that very clear and simple way of understanding the importance of branding and how to use it to keep your customers interested.

Consider Full Moon Design Group your brand dating service. We will work with you to make sure that you are market ready and we promise to make it as pain free as possible. To begin your journey to seeking brand dating bliss, contact one of our dating counselors today.